3 Thoughtful Gifts That Don't Cost Any Money

November 10, 2021 by Spectrum Credit Union

Holiday shoppers got an early start this season, with half (49%) of those polled by the National Retail Federation saying they began browsing or buying before November — the highest percentage in the annual survey’s history. However, with widely reported supply chain woes, product shortages and shipping delays, this season could ratchet up the stress level.

Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid all that and save money? You can — by turning to some creatively thoughtful gift alternatives instead. Here are some no-cost ways to celebrate those nearest and dearest to you.

1. Resourceful regifting

  • Repurpose with class

It’s the ultimate shop from home idea: Recycling things you already have that are new, never used or (in some cases) gently used. In fact, passing along things is trendy, thanks to the rising popularity of repurposed and sustainable goods. What’s more, it helps keep spending in check. A recent survey finds that fewer people have hefty holiday budgets this year, and 28% of us plan to regift this holiday season — with no guilt. Odds are, most of us have received something we already have, we don’t care for, we won’t use or that doesn’t fit our style. But those items could be perfect for someone else.

Etiquette tips: Elevate the presentation with thoughtful rewrapping and a handwritten note. And unless the giftee is someone close to you who wouldn’t mind, avoid regifting to anyone who knows the original gift giver.

  • Bundle free samples

Do you always add free samples to your health and beauty orders? Get a small gift or gift card with a purchase? Or wind up with baby products or puppy trial sizes tucked in with that last diaper delivery or pet supply shipment? If you’ve accumulated a collection, these unused freebies could make a themed gift bag or basket that you create for say, a beauty-savvy friend, new parent, pet owner or frequent traveler.

2. DIY and let talents shine

  • Offer a helping hand

From the “little things mean a lot” department, consider gifting a few hours of babysitting, closet organization, garage cleaning, advance meal prep, handyman help, laundry or snow shoveling. If time and schedule permit, you could put together a chore chart or coupon book that offers the recipient such household help a few times a month. The upshot: Taking the pressure off someone’s plate can be invaluable assistance — and better than a one-time gift.

  • Craft their story

Ditch the Instagram story and create an old-school, scrapbook-style photo album for someone you love. Customized by you, it can serve as a nostalgic link to the past and preserve some recent best memories, too. Feel free to transform a simple school binder or journal into something special by adding a fabric cover or decal decoration. You can include mementos from times together, such as saved ticket stubs, greeting cards, newspaper clippings or candid snapshots. Look for free templates online that can add headings and borders to pages — and think about labels like “Best Day Ever,” “Favorite Place,” “Biggest Laugh” or “Now and Then.”

3. Share meaningful treasures

  • Compile well-loved recipes

Do people often ask you for your recipes for barbeque sauce and cranberry cobbler? Or does your grandmother always wow the crowd with her lifetime of savvy cooking secrets? Gather recipes you love, along with treasured family favorites. Write or print out these classics, organize them by theme, add personal notes and bind them together into a mini-cookbook. Bonus point: It’s guaranteed to be the gift that keeps on giving!

  • Hand down an heirloom

A sentimental possession with personal meaning can make a great present for the right person. Whether it’s a family treasure or a valuable antique, passing along an item of significance to another family member is both meaningful and free of charge. A piece of vintage jewelry, a first-edition book, time-worn baseball glove or even a late relative’s cherished Christmas ornament collection could all evoke warm memories and deep appreciation.

Spreading good cheer in unique ways

This season, gift-giving might be a little different. But just because you may opt for a less-expensive route doesn’t mean you need to compromise on sentiment. Thoughtful ideas and personal touches will always mean a lot to the people who receive them.

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